Zimmerman, George Michael - Erie County

GEORGE MICHAEL ZIMMERMAN, Comptroller of the City of Buffalo, is a man of representative prominence in business and civic life. Ever since his boyhood Mr. Zimmerman has been identified with the lumber business, and he is the proprietor of one of the largest retail lumber concerns in Western New York. He is a leading Democrat, a progressive citizen and a man held in high esteem in the community.

Mr. Zimmerman comes of sturdy German stock, his grandfather, John Zimmerman, having emigrated to America from Kapsweyer, Bavaria, in 1832. He married Magdalena Paul, who was also a native of Bavaria, and the family of ten children came to this country with their parents, settling in Buffalo. John Zimmerman was a carpenter, woodworker and farmer. He was one of the pioneer German residents of Buffalo, and was widely known there. He died in 1865. George Zimmerman, eldest son of John Zimmerman, was born in Bavaria in 1815. He came to America with his family, and after his arrival in Buffalo took up the carpenter's and builder's trade. In 1841 he established a lumber yard at Genesee and Michigan streets, afterward removing to Pine street, near Broadway, where the plant founded by him is still located. He also carried on a grocery, continuing actively engaged in business until his death in 1897. He was a man of sterling traits of industry and enterprise, and was among the most influential German American citizens of Buffalo. George Zimmerman married Katherine Fischer of Buffalo, who was born in Alsace in 1837. The only surviving child of the marriage is George M. Zimmerman.

George Michael Zimmerman was born in Buffalo April 29, 1854. He attended St. Mary's Parochial School, St. Joseph's College and Prof. Barrett's Night School, an institution for business training. When seventeen years old young Zimmerman began work in his father's lumber yard. On the death of the senior Zimmerman, the son succeeded' him in the lumber business, which he has from that time to the present carried on with constantly increasing success, maintaining in addition to the principal yard and offices in Pine street, a branch in Cypress street. Mr. Zimmerman was long identified with the Volksfreund Printing & Publishing Company, of which he was Vice-President for six years, also serving for one year as President. He is a Director of the German-American Bank.

Mr. Zimmerman has all his life been an active Democrat, but never held office until January 1, 1906, when he became Comptroller of the City of Buffalo, having been elected to the place as Democratic nominee, by a plurality of nearly 5,000. As Comptroller, Mr. Zimmerman has given Buffalo a clean, economical and wholly creditable administration of the financial branch of the city government. He has instituted many needed reforms and has received wide commendation for the efficiency of his methods and the sound business principles he has applied to municipal finance.

Mr. Zimmerman is a trustee of the Buffalo German Roman Catholic Orphan Asylum, and has served on the managing board of that institution for the last ten years. He is also a trustee of the United German and French Cemetery Association. He is a member of the Knights of Columbus, the Catholic Benevolent Legion, the Knights of St. John, and the Catholic Mutual Benefit Association. He has all his life been a member of St. Mary's Church.

In 1876 Mr. Zimmerman married Agnes Steinmann, daughter of Charles and Elizabeth (Gottschalk) Steinmann of Buffalo. The children of the union are: George Joseph Zimmerman, who is now manager of his father's business; Katherine (Sister M. Gerada), a teacher at St. Ann's Parochial School; Clara (Sister M. Agnes), of the Convent of the Good Shepherd of Buffalo; Anne; Mary Joseph, a student at North East College, Pa.; Gerard, Edward and Dolores.

SOURCE: Memorial and Family History of Erie County New York; Volume I